SHARING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST – 1
Copy of an E-mail sent to a friend 1 year after her marriage. Struggles, yes, but she is “on the path.”
BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
MARCH 15, 2000
Subject: Your letter, 3-10-00
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 08:20:50 -0600
From: Sunny Coffman
Dear Sally [not real name]
I hope you kept a copy of this letter you sent me. It could be a valuable yardstick for the future to see the progress of what God is doing in you. I am so proud of the growth that I am seeing and so grateful that we have a loving heavenly Father that is concerned about the smallest details of our lives and wants to see us fully empowered to walk as Jesus walked.
I hear your heart cry when you speak of the difficulty you have had fully coming into the place of submission. I, too, have had a serious struggle in that area. Man’s counsel is worthwhile many times and certainly God can and does use man to speak to His children, but when God himself chooses to reveal something to you directly, there is no substitute for that. The single thing that has helped me come through in that area has been some very specific instructions God gave me shortly after Roger arrived 5 years ago with all of his present challenges – tremendous pain – full of religion – emotionally damaged – physically unable to work, etc. etc. etc. Rather than being allowed to focus on all of those circumstances or the sudden “intrusion” of my privacy and “time alone with God”, all God would say to comfort me and give me instruction on how to operate was: “IF YOU WANT TO LOVE ME, JUST LOVE THIS MAN. IF YOU WANT TO MINISTER TO ME, JUST MINISTER TO THIS MAN.”
For the next two years, there was a wholeeeeeee lot of time sitting beside a bedside as a man prayed to die because of pain and transformation going on within him. All I could do was pray and read the word and read the sound Kingdom Teachings God has brought into my hands. And, slowly, but surely, I began to see the pain ease, a little at a time, the emotional healing begin to manifest, to see the depression subside, to hear the confessions change, to see the joy return, and to see a person literally rise from death to life in so many ways. I know the Father was pleased and I know it was the path He had tried to lead me onto for many years. But I was too busy listening to the voice of the tormentors that tried to convince me I was so much smarter, more skilled, better educated, exposed to such a much finer [more cultured] way of life – that I needed to move on and seek a career “out there somewhere” that was going to lead to fame and fortune and not be pulled down by someone else and their obvious unwillingness to not “come up to my level.” I’m making this very brief, and over-simplifying greatly, but it is the principal of attack and my lack of obedience to God that had produced bad fruit in past years. But, in the experience with Roger, it was like “my life depended upon my obedience.” I somehow knew I was approaching a “last chance” to get it straight.
After Roger came, the first words God spoke to him in this home was “DIVINE ORDER“. We neither one had any comprehension of what that meant and 5 years later, we are still learning. But shortly after that, God spoke to me and said there were two things that had to be kept out of our home – FEAR and DIVISION. He said FEAR had to be placed in a prison outside our home and the bars had to be made of FAITH. He also said DIVISION had to be placed in a prison outside our home and the bars had to be made of UNITY. We have fought those two devils together and the battle has been worth it.
Everyone that comes into our home remarks at some point that they have never felt such peace anywhere. We are blessed that God gave us specific instructions to follow and that the obedience has produced that peace.
I, too, had tremendous challenges in trying to establish trust in our relationship. I knew too much about “the nature of the beast – man” and too much about the job description of the enemy, and was still too damaged by betrayal in past relationships. I just had no trust in men… period. A lot of this lack of trust had also come from teaching I had received at home as a child. My mom had a couple of bad marriages, and had no sound teaching on the importance of forgiveness. Consequently, she carried a lot of bitterness to the grave. But certainly, in her attempt to try to protect me from hurts, she spoke often about her lack of trust, her own personal observations in men, and how much better I would be if I never had any relationship with a man. So, you can see I was off center in this area.
God finally gave me peace by showing me that Roger had the seed of Christ inside of him and that the good work God had started would be completed. He kept reassuring me that this marriage truly was ordained by Him; and that He does not give bad gifts. He kept giving me peace to trust Him and the work He was doing. And, somewhere along the way, the trust finally came. I cannot tell you that there are not still occasional attacks in my mind and that I don’t still have to make wise choices regarding what I’m going to listen to; but it’s nothing like the all-out attempts to destroy the relationship that I experienced early on.
I’d like to suggest that, as you spoke about being in a spiritual wasteland for a long time, you may have truly been in the wilderness experience – alone with God [even though you may have been surrounded by people on your job, etc.] – I really believe God was taking you though the initial quiet time alone with Him to strip you of the false teachings and to plug in a new mother board. All of us had been depending on information from a software program [man’s ministries] instead of getting ALL of our answers from THE SOURCE. One time God told me “If a train is going 100 miles/hr, it must stop completely before it can change direction.”
Perhaps some of what you went through in that time span was: “God has turned His back on me. I’m not good enough to receive the deep things of God. What’s wrong with me that all these others receive such deep revelations, yet I feel so all alone, deserted, betrayed, abandoned. I’ve made such a mess of my life that I’ve crossed over the line and God can’t or won’t accept me now.” If you didn’t hear any of that, I’d be surprised. That seems to be the type of attacks, as we are going through the separation from the “church of man” and being stripped completely of all those systems and programs, so that we can become “the church of God – the temple He works through.”
Not unlike myself, Sally, I somehow really believe that all of the pain you are experiencing, the continued weight gain you are going through, even the attacks of perhaps depression, doubt, fear, confusion, etc… are all a part of your sharing in the “sufferings of Christ.” When I woke up this morning that was the phrase that was strongly in my mind. It was especially significant to me this AM since I had been up much of the night in the most excruciating pain I’ve experienced so far. It was a constant struggle to not listen to the voices that were speaking less than life over me and trying to get me to agree with them versus the promises that God has given me about death being defeated and all of the specific assignments He has given me that will probably keep me busy from several months, if not a year – and the fact that He has just given a person the clear instructions and lots of confirmations, that she is to join me and assist me with what He is bringing forth. I ask you, does that sound like God thinks I’m going to die? Of course not, but there is a great struggle right now for my life and I know it. I also know who will win and why the battle is so great. God is looking for people that will be out of the way so He can use them any way He chooses. The enemy does not want those people available and able to be used.
Sally, I want to praise God for the whole tone of your e-mail. You are so open to admit what you see as shortcomings that are still manifesting and I hear no attempt to blame anyone else and I hear this sincere heart cry for liberty in every area of your life. God is pleased with you. He is guiding you and directing you. And while the progress may not be at the speed you desire; resting in the knowledge that it is all in God’s hands and His timing will bring peace. I just so appreciate your tenacity to continue to seek Him with everything you have.
Concerning speaking the Word. Listen carefully here. I’m not speaking against the Word in anyway, but I’ve come to believe that unless the Holy Spirit has brought scripture to you and put the anointing on it for that moment, it is still a letter and “the letter killeth, but the Spirit bringeth life.” Through the years, I’ve run across so many of these religious folks spouting Word, spouting Word, and going nowhere and driving people away from God instead of being instruments used to draw people to God. So, I’ve gone before the Lord much on this subject and basically what I just said is what He has shown me. So many are caught up in these religious works. One person I know has this motto in his ministry. ‘DON’T TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBOR ABOUT GOD UNTIL YOU HAVE TALKED TO GOD ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBOR.’ I really do believe that we have had a misconception about evangelism and that the most effective manifestation of evangelism is when we have taken the time to get to know someone – truly establish a relationship with them – given them time to see God at work in us without stifling them with our religious talk. And, I believe at some point, the anointing will spill out onto that person and they will be drawn to the holiness they see in us and desire what we have. I’ve never seen the denominational approach I was raised with of: shaking someone by the shoulders and screaming “have you been saved yet?” has ever brought anyone into the Kingdom.
Sally, God has begun a good work in you and He will not fail to complete that which He has started. You can’t clean up yourself. The Holy Spirit is the only one that has that assignment. Our part is to submit to His leading and let Him lead us into all truth and to separate us from the vile and draw us to the holy. Entering into the rest of that removes so much of the possibility for stress, confusion, and striving to get on us. You’re doing good – great even – because you are continuing to seek Him and He will not fail you. Keep on keeping on. It will all be worth it.
SHARING IN THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST – 1 [Sunny Orly Coffman] 3-15-00 1